Tell me what I need to hear!

Seek the counsel of the wise and do not get attached to the praises of men.

September 4

It is better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool!

Ecclesiastes 7:5

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Tell me what I need to hear!

Praise and criticism are two things that come with being in any form of ministry.  We desire praise from those around us and will sometimes chase after it to get it.  Criticism is often something we try to avoid and will often reject.  Solomon, the wisest man on the earth reminds us that those are the wrong attitudes.  And Jesus later told us that we shouldn’t seek praise from men but from God.

Being competitive by nature, I have always wanted to do well.  And I learned early on that I didn’t know everything and that if I wanted to be better that I needed to let people tell me what I needed to do to get better at whatever I was doing.  So, I have learned to cherish criticism and even seek it out so that I can excel.

Something else that I learned fairly early in life is that other people’s praise was a very fickle thing.  One moment they will praise me for my achievement and the next they don’t even recognize my existence.  I have learned to treat the praise of people like the scent of a flower.  Enjoy it for the moment but realize that tomorrow it will be gone.

And since I have gotten into ministry both of these traits are vitally important for me to maintain and control.  But with one significant difference; both must be focused on God.  Only God supplies wisdom and only God deserves praise.  When I am seeking the wisdom of God, I go to God first and ask Him to supply it.  Then I will go to His word and look for it there.  And then I will go to others to seek the wisdom that God has given them.  But even then, I will compare their wisdom to what God has told me.

The praise of others can be so sweet; like good chocolate.  It is very enjoyable and makes you feel good.  But if you eat too much it will make you sick.  And a regular diet of it will make you unhealthy.  God deserves all the praise, but he uses people like you and me to reveal Himself.  And as God uses us, others will praise us for what God is doing.

There is nothing more enjoyable to me than having someone tell me that I have allowed God to use me in some way that touched their lives.  This praise helps us to know that we are doing things well.  When the praise of men comes, which is likely to happen when you are being used by God, we are only to taste it and then give most of it to God.  God deserves all the praise, honor, and glory but He chooses to give us a taste of it.  But we have to be so careful that we are not developing a taste for the praises of men because that leads to pride and arrogance.  And then God has to remind us who is in control; He is!  Seek the counsel of the wise and do not get attached to the praises of men.  Jesus, teach us to be wise and to seek your wisdom and help us to give the praise, honor, and glory to You.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:
Read: Ecclesiastes 7:1-9:18; 2 Corinthians 7:8-16; Psalm 48:1-14; Proverbs 22:17-19

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